Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Queen of the Gypsies - Esma Redzepova

Esma Redzepova. Photo source: review by Andrea Gerak

A few weeks ago in August, Stockholm had its yearly Kulturfestival, which is one of the greatest things here, with free events around the town. One of them was The Gypsy Queens & Kings with the Mahala Rai Banda, just in front of the Opera House.

And the Queen of Queens (well, I would say The Queen of Gypsies, for she was the only one from all the female performers to deserve this title, in my humble opinion): Esma Redzepova.

There could be pages and pages told about this charismatic lady from Macedonia, please check out her website at

The whole evening with such a powerful, lively show was a real highlight for Stockholm (there should be much more of this kind of concerts, to shake up this cold North a bit...!!!) Let me just give you my personal impressions only about Esma's appearance, in a few words - more I can't find to express it all...

It happened to me.

What is it? Many times when I sing, I can see tears in peoples' eyes, they come to me to tell how grateful they are, what feelings I gave them with my songs - the most fantastic moments for a singer, to see others touched by something you do.

At those moments, I could imagine their states of mind, for I often have the same when I listen to music, I can be very emotional about it. But: it was still not completely real for me how my listeners felt, for I have known this only from instrumental music. I can't recall any singer alive whose voice has ever reached to my heart so deeply that it brought out my tears - and believe me, I have done quite some listening, including some of the biggest names, live...

So now it happened to me.

In the very first song when Esma stepped on the stage (stepped? is that a satisfactory word about a Queen, a real Dame, a phenomenon?), she did it to me. Letting her soul out with that powerful voice penetrated the innermost core of my being, and my feelings and thoughts had to flow out...

What an inspiration...!!! I was flying high the whole evening, and ever since, when I just think of those moments or listen to the recordings I caught with my mobile...

I am not a Gypsy myself, but love their culture, the music and the dances, it's an unbelievably rich source material for me that I try to weave into my performances. Have seen many of their folks singing, dancing and playing, on stage or at parties, but from this moment on, with these three or four songs from Esma, probably a new world opened for me as a singer.

If this is something that I can also give to others (and from the feedback, apparently I can...), this is what I wanna do in my whole life, as long as I am able to.

Thank you so much, Esma, with my greatest respect and admiration!!! Wish you good health and that people of the world can hear you for many, many years to come!


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